The stories on the anniversary of the devastating 1952 Bakersfield earthquakes triggered this response from a reader: "People say that, as an infant, you may remember traumatic experiences. In August 1952, I was 18 months old. We lived just west of Kern Medical Center on Flower Street. When the earthquake hit, I was in my crib in the living room. My mother and sister were piano players, and we had a low top piano in the living room also. To this day, I can vividly remember the piano bouncing two to three feet off the floor and moving past my crib, which was moving the other way across the room. My sister, nine years old, and her girlfriend were on the front porch and thrown out into the front yard. I am sure there are others with lasting memories, but this is one I can truly say was a memory that I have not forgotten."


The horrific shooting at the Colorado theater that killed so many innocent moviegoers has renewed the debate over gun control. Would outlawing assault rifles prevent a recurrence of these tragedies? What about limiting the amount of ammunition that can be bought at one time on the Internet? We will talk gun control on Californian Radio KERN 1180 AM today at 9 a.m. We will also be talking to a vice president of the Campbell Soup Company, which recently paid $1.55 billion for locally owned Bolthouse Farms. Join us for the discussion.


Harold Tyner wrote to say he and wife Elaine have one of the old, classic hitching posts erected in his front yard. "I have owned and ridden horses for several years," he wrote. "Hal Wygant's daughter Laurie is married to our son, Steven Holcomb. Hal had acquired one of the original hitching posts that was once in front of the courthouse. He offered it to us, and it is now in our front yard, waiting for any would be rider and horse to tie up!"


Longtime reader Terry Andrews shared this bit of bad form when he was eating breakfast at the Knotty Pine Cafe. "It was a delicious breakfast, (but) there was a man facing us, with three ladies at his table, and he flossed over his plate for 10 minutes after the meal. Ugh!"


A young woman is telling her friend about running into group of city firemen at a downtown woman's boutique. "So we are there talking and in walk a dozen of these young firemen who are inspecting the building and asking questions about the crawl space. They were so nice and polite, and these guys were hot! Every woman in the place just stood there in a trance! It was quite a show!"


My post last week on Rich Johnson's crew who painted my downtown home brought this note from reader Karen Kandarian. "Richard Johnson has been doing my painting for at least 25 years. Richard has a vast knowledge of all the current colors and products on the market. He is always right on in helping make decisions. He is fair, honest, trustworthy and reliable. He always finishes the job and does it well. He is a true professional. As you stated, he gets all his work by word of mouth. What better recommendation can a person receive than to have so many satisfied customers giving you a referral? He's the best in my book."

Richard Beene is president and CEO of The Bakersfield Californian. He blogs at These are his opinions, not necessarily those of The Californian. Send him tips at